Time is the most precious thing we have. Ever since the day we’re born, the clocks start ticking – and before you know it, they come to a stop.
It doesn’t have to be. Okay, everyone’s life does have an end date. Okay, it is kind of terrifying.
But the matters of death are completely out of your hands. There’s nothing you can do. There’s a certain freedom in that.
Do you know what you can do, though? You can take all the time you have and squeeze as much value out of it as possible. You can live fully, storing wonderful memories as you go.
Are you ready?
People who value their time never do these 9 things.
1) They never waste time on relationships that don’t serve them
Let’s do a little exercise together. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and then…think back to the three most beautiful moments of your life.
Return to reading when you’re done.
Hi, welcome back!
Let me wager a guess. At least one of your three beautiful moments included a person you love or feel deeply connected to.
This is because relationships are crucial for our well-being and longevity. When you’re on your deathbed, you probably won’t think about all the times you worked until 10 PM or watched TV.
It’s the people you’ve spent your life with that count.
All this to say that the quality of your relationships is absolutely crucial to how well you use the time you have left. People who value their time don’t get stuck in unhealthy relationships that bring their well-being down.
They foster connections that inspire them and make their lives better.
2) They never forego their essential needs to please someone else
Those who value their time understand that as crucial as great relationships with others are, the most important relationship you have is with yourself.
This means they don’t go out of their way to please and win approval from others, especially if it goes against their own needs.
When choosing between a social event and a much-needed rest at home, they go for the latter.
When asked for favors that don’t suit their schedule, they say no.
Time is too precious to simply give it away whenever someone asks. When you cherish it, you allow yourself to be a little bit selfish – after all, your life’s primarily about you.
Save time for the people who deserve it.
And yes, you’re included in that category. Always.
3) They never stay in uncomfortable social situations just to avoid being “rude”
You’ve decided to go to a party. After an hour of introductions and small talk, you feel tired and out of it. You want to go home, read a good book, and doze off in the comfort of your blankets.
A people pleaser would stay for another two hours just because they don’t want to disappoint or be seen as rude.
A person who values their time would say it as it is. “Thanks for inviting me! I had fun, but I’m getting tired, so I’ll head home. I’ll see you tomorrow!”
The same goes for all situations that make you feel uncomfortable – dates, family dinners, trips, you name it.
When you prioritize your time and energy, you prioritize yourself. If a certain situation doesn’t bring anything good to the table, why would you spend time on it?
4) They never not look for shortcuts to get the boring stuff over with
The same applies to activities. Even if you have a job you absolutely love, there’s always that one thing that makes you grumble and roll your eyes.
“Ugh. I’ve got to do that again.”
Invoices. Emails. Unnecessary business meetings. Accounting.
Whatever it is, people who hold their time dear always try to find an effective way of minimizing boring tasks and maximizing the activities they love.
They automate invoices, sort emails by urgency, ask to swap out meetings for messages, and use the power of Excel spreadsheets to make accounting as easy as possible.
This gives them more time to do the stuff they truly love.
5) They never put things off
Speaking of boring tasks, it’s super easy to put them off for as long as you can. Procrastination just loves to convince you that placing all the burden on your future self is a good deal.
(Spoiler alert: it’s not.)
When you respect your time, procrastination is your number one enemy. This is because procrastinating is a vicious cycle of not doing the thing you’re supposed to be doing, feeling guilty about it, worrying, and not doing it anyway.
Guilt is the difference between procrastination and effective scheduling.
If you do the first, you’re putting things off and ruining your present moment by worrying. If you do the latter, you’re allowing yourself to rest fully, with no negative feelings involved in the process.
Say no to procrastination. Say yes to great time management.
And remember – if you do the boring stuff now, you’re giving a nice gift to your future self. They’ll thank you.
6) They never forget to cherish the present moment
Getting rid of procrastination and the guilt associated with it is only one of the many ways to alleviate your use of the present.
We tend to think of time as something in the future. “I still have a lot of time left,” we say, thinking of all the years that are yet to come.
But the reality is that time is always now. You only ever experience it in the present tense. Your past self was once your present. and your future self will only come to being through the present.
As you’re reading these words, time keeps rushing on, and each now is turning into then, slipping through your fingers.
Therefore, the best way to appreciate your time is to fully take it in as it’s happening.
Soak in the world around you. Focus on your breathing and your body, on the magical moments of everyday life – the sun streaming in through the windows, a cup of tea, a seagull flying through the twilight sky.
7) They never ruminate for too long
Since people who value their time spend so much of it living in the present moment, they don’t let themselves get swallowed up by past mistakes.
Regret is the wish to go back in time and fix what can’t be fixed. It’s futile.
When you protect your time and energy, you know that there is no point in dredging up the past because it’s no more than a memory. Instead, you focus your gaze on what is now and what might be in the future.
8) They never not plan
Remember how I said you should live in the present?
That still applies. Daydreaming about the perfect future while you’re laying in bed every day is not a very viable use of your time, that’s for sure.
But if you take active steps to get somewhere every day, the destination matters. Without a plan, you’d just be running around chasing your own tail.
As the saying goes, “If you don’t plan, you plan to fail.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should live every day according to set criteria.
Plans evolve and change, and that’s okay. Some days are worse than others, and that’s also okay.
What matters is seeing the big picture. What do you want out of life? And are you taking the steps to get there while also enjoying what the present offers?
If your answer is yes, you’re using your time effectively.
9) They (almost) never spend ages scrolling
While moving towards your goals sounds simple enough, the 21st-century world is so very distracting that you have to overcome more obstacles than ever to remain focused.
Namely, social media.
Research shows that apps like TikTok are designed to function like slot machines. Each time you swipe down to watch another video, you’re essentially pulling the lever to see if you get rewarded with dopamine.
Unfortunately, social media rarely leads to a boost in well-being. It might even make your usual activities look less engaging because they’re not as dopamine-fuelled.
We’re all guilty of the occasional one-hour scroll. But if you value your time, you know when to stop or how to limit your use of such apps.
For example, you can set up a daily limit on your phone, put on a 10-minute timer, or put your phone on airplane mode when working.
And that’s us! Be it scrolling on TikTok, staying stuck in dysfunctional relationships, or ruminating on things you can no longer change, remember that what you do with your time determines how you spend your life.
And since death is inevitable, living a good life is kind of a big deal. So make sure you get the most out of it.